Shrimpers strike it lucky but lack goals
SKIPPER John White marshalled Southend to a clean sheet on his return from injury – but the defender told his teammates to shape up after they suffered a second shutout in three games.
Southend enjoyed the better of the first half but they had a lucky escape after the break when Robbie Willmott missed a penalty.
County keeper Lenny Pidgeley regularly kept the Shrimpers at bay but it was Southend’s Dan Bentley who had the final say, denying Willmott late on to extend their unbeaten run to eight games.
Phil Brown’s side missed the opportunity to jump into the automatic promotion spots, at least temporarily on Friday night, and White admits they need to find the net after scoring just once in their last three outings.
“I think they came here to get something from the game and had a really good chance to win the game with the penalty,” said the 27-year-old.
“We’ve got to try and find different ways to break them down, and we created quite a few chances.
“More goals is something we definitely need to add, all round the team, but we just need to show a bit of composure.
“For me personally it was great to be back playing having missed quite a few games with injury.
“Obviously it would have been nice to get the three points but we’ve kept our unbeaten league start to 2014 going.”
Newport debutant Shaun Jeffers had a penalty shout waved away after half an hour but the hosts almost took the lead minutes later, Pidgeley pushing Will Atkinson’s header onto the post.
County were awarded a penalty five minutes after the break but Willmott sent his effort well wide of the right-hand post.
Pidgeley then also pushed away an angled effort from Barry Corr before he turned a deflected Lee Barnard header around the post.
But Newport boss Justin Edinburgh was not prepared to point fingers and admitted Pidgeley had played an important role in securing a useful point.
“I don't blame Robbie Willmott for the penalty,” said the manager.
“He buries them in training every week and it’s just one of those things. I thought he was going to make amends near the end but the keeper made a great save.
“We definitely had to weather the storm in the first half with Lenny Pidgeley making some great saves.
“But we came out of the second half and pushed Southend and created a lot more chances. It is a good clean sheet.”
STAR MAN LENNY PIDGEL